STANLEY, Henry Morton. Through the Dark Continent, or the Sources of the Nile Around the Great Lakes of Equatorial Africa and Down the Livingstone River to the Atlantic Ocean. London, Sampson Low, Marston, Searle & Rivington, 1878.
Two volumes, 8vo. Original dark brown cloth, blocked in black, with an elaborate pattern, showing the continent of Africa in black, with the course of the Nile crossing it in gilt, surmounting a narrative scene, also in black, of natives rowing through a rocky landscape; all of this surmounted by the title in gilt and black; pp. xiv, , 522; ix, 566 (with 32-page publisher's booklist, dated April 1878, bound in at rear), with 2 lithographed portrait frontispieces, retaining tissue guards, 32 full-page wood-engraved plates, 10 maps, several folding and coloured in outline, and including 2 in pockets at rear, numerous wood-engraved illustrations throughout; cloth with expert repairs, inner hinges strengthened, spotted in places only, alittle offsetting from frontispieces, still a good set of a pivotal work.
First edition. A classic account of the search for the sources of the Nile. Stanley's expedition, sponsored by the London Daily Telegraph and the New York Herald, completed the work of Burton, Speke and Livingstone. The epic journey, lasting for over two and a half years. 'The procession that departed from Bagamoyo (Tanzania) on 17 November 1874 stretched for more than half a mile and included dozens of men carrying sections of the Lady Alice, the boat named for his seventeen-year-old fiancée, with which Stanley intended to explore Lakes Victoria and Tanganyika and Livingstone's Lualaba River. During the next two and a half years, the expedition would struggle in temperatures reaching as high as 138 degrees; the powerful Emperor Mtesa of Uganda and the Wanyoro chief Mirambo would consume a great deal of Stanley's time and test his diplomatic skills; he would have to negotiate with a notorious Arab ivory and slave trader named Tippu-Tib for safe passage of his men through the great rain forest; and he and his men would fight more than thirty skirmishes and battles on land and water against hostile tribes. The geographic prizes Stanley achieved on this expedition were unparalleled. He spent almost two months circumnavigating Lake Victoria, confirming that the only outlet was at Ripon Falls and hence establishing for good, he thought, the source of the Nile. He scouted Lake Albert, then moved south and west to Lake Tanganyika, which he also circumnavigated, proving it had no connection with Lake Albert. Stanley then solved the remaining geographical puzzle, determining that the Lualaba was not part of the Niger or Nile rivers but ultimately flowed into the Congo. He reached the Atlantic Ocean on 9 August 1877, after a journey of more than seven thousand miles, in utter exhaustion. Back in London, he learned that Alice had not waited for him' (Delaney, Princeton Visual Materials, online). The two large-scale maps in the rear pockets are amongs the best of the 19th century charting Central Africa.
Mansell IV p. 379; Hilmy, II, p.258; Mendelssohn (1979) IV, p.379.